There actually was a time when a person could acquire all necessary life skills with or without a computer. But that time has come and gone, today those that don’t have internet access or computer skills have been abandoned on the wrong side of the digital divide, with ever-diminishing prospects.
It would be easy to think that the notion of a “Digital Divide” is now outdated. Whose life isn’t digital in some respect these days? As shown in Internet World Stats 87.4% of Americans are online and use the Internet across a range of technological devices. This suggests only a small minority are not online. Perhaps this is due to a lack of availability or they don’t out of choice.
But if we dig a little deeper into those statistics, the Digital Divide re-emerges. The 87.4% of people online includes anyone who has accessed the Internet in the past six months, even if just the once. Therein lies the problem. It gives no indication of frequency of use, levels of digital literacy or how active those users are online. Which masks digital inequalities.
Urban civic activists are calling attention to the inequities in information access. They argue that where information is or isn’t accessible can reinforce privilege (knows how to access info) and limit opportunities for individuals in underserved and marginalized communities (doesn’t know how to access info).
Media coverage of the “digital divide” and issues of digital equity center on issues of physical access to the Internet. Some researchers now suggest that equality of access be replaced with equity of access, which focuses on information availability, online, to people from all walks of life and especially the poor and disadvantaged.
Where equality orientation might be satisfied with the presence of computers in public libraries & schools. An equity orientation would focus on how to navigate computer systems, locate information and use said information. Thereby increasing users’ skills and going beyond a one-time how-to experience to deep and continuing opportunities for people.
The Internet also just got a little cheaper for some families – but experts say lowering the price is not enough to help low-income Americans get online. Currently, about 15% of Americans don’t use the Internet and for many that’s out of necessity, so this update can help them. However, it won’t be enough to bridge significant inequalities in digital technology use, warn experts such as Blanca Gordo, a senior researcher at the International Computer Science Institute at the University of California, Berkeley.
She said, the FCC ruling for cheaper Internet “is a step in the right direction, but it’s insufficient to address what is a much more complex problem. What people don’t have is the training, assistance and teaching needed to enter a complex system that is thought of as easy to use from the perspective of a long-term user.”
According to Pew Research, Older Adults Face Hurdles adopting New Technology and of the hurdles they face difficulties learning to use them is a primary contributor. A majority of seniors say they need assistance learning to use new digital devices. Only 18% feel comfortable learning a new device like a smartphone or tablet on their own. While 77% indicate they would need someone to walk them through the process.
The complexity of Digital Literacy spans issues from Tackling Youth Unemployment to Acquainting Senior Citizens with Mobile Technology, from Job Searching Via Mobile Device to Smartphone Help in Emergencies and learning or updating ones’ digital skills-set is a serious challenge. The question is; “What is the most effective learning medium available today?”
The answer to that question is a webinar, it has the ability to bring you face-to-face communications while online. Through this technology, you not only experience live instruction & assistance but can also ask questions and get immediate answers. Technology such as this also has the ability of recording your webinar so you can play it again and again whenever you want which eliminates the need to take notes.
Unfortunately, this service is not yet available because it’s been waiting on your funding support.
It doesn’t take a rocket-scientist to see what a help our assistance could be to millions of the young and old in addressing the complex issue of digital literacy. Everyone has someone in their family effected by digital literacy, and “we have a webinar for that.” Support us and help make a difference for all those concerned.
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